Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wandering through Nihonbashi

The morning of August 6th found me wandering through the streets of Nihonbashi. Even early on the temperatures and humidity were high. It was frustrating but I didn't fly all the way to Japan to sit in an uncomfortable hotel room. Not far from the hotel I found this shrine.

Later I discovered the name of the shrine is Kabuto. Which is the word for samurai helmet. I also didn't know while there that there is a rock shaped like a helmet there. Since there were a couple rocks there I don't know which one is the helmet one. But it did have nice lanterns.

The shrine is across from the Tokyo Stock Exchange and sits almost directly under an elevated road, the Metropolitan Expressway No. 6 Mukojima Route. What little information I could find about the shrine's history is in Japanese so not 100% of accuracy due to translation. It was set up in 1878 and a Shinto god of commerce, Kurainetamashiinochi 倉稲魂命, is enshrined there (basically the kami of the stock exchange). In 1927 the shrine was moved to the current position and the reinforced concrete was laid. There was more work done on the shrine in 1969. As for naming it helmet, there are stories that claim many years ago Minamoto no Yoshiie prayed for victory over the rock or that Taira no Masakado's helmet is buried here. Sadly real records were not kept so don't know if either story really happened.

What is interesting is the bridge right by Kabuto Shrine is called Yoroibashi. Which translates to Armor Bridge. The story behind the name is back in the 1000 era when there was no bridge and some samurai needed to be ferried across there was a storm. After praying the samurai took off their armor in order to not offend the dragon god of the sea and the storm dissipated. Once again, getting this from a translated site.

The first bridge here was built in 1872 of iron and later widened around 1920 to be used as a street car crossing. I could not find a date for when it was changed to the current bridge but possibly was done when the expressway was constructed here.

The Nihonbashi River covered over by that expressway. Sad to see this enclosed like this. At least it's not underground like other Tokyo rivers.

Taking a walk in the financial district of Tokyo. Parasols may block the sun but no way helped with the heat and humidity.

Yup, that is the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It was a Saturday which explains the absence of people.

Not far from there is the Yamani Securities 山二証券(株) Building. Built in 1936 in a Spanish style, part of the building is covered with terracotta Spanish tile. The architect was Nishimura Kotoki. If I didn't feel so cautious at the time I would have taken more photos. It's a remarkable building in an area with a lot of unremarkable construction.

Came across a Natural Lawson konbini. I had read about them a while ago and had wanted to check this out so I stopped in. Some rather high priced "natural" food products along with a lot of regular Lawson items. The natural part felt more like a gimmick to be honest.

Something more natural is this Pasona Group owned building. Pasona Group is a Japanese temporary employment company. In 2010 they took over the building and began to grow produce inside and  covered the exterior with plants. They even had a rice paddy in the lobby. Don't know if it is still there. While it's smaller than many of the buildings around it, and will be even more so once construction is done of a couple new buildings right by there, the green plants growing on it is refreshing in this sea of concrete.

Awning on the left is the back of Tokyo Station. I was regretting walking this far but since I was here...

I might as well go in. This looks familiar. The entrance that leads to Character Street. I was last here in March, 2011 when they were doing construction on the station. Click on that link for photos at that time. I wonder what it's like now.

Unlike 2011, Tokyo Station and Character Street was packed with people. I don't know if the Great Touhoku Disaster kept people away in 2011, but in August 2016 Character Street was very crowded.

Back out on the streets and struggling to return to my hotel. I spy this bit of artwork on Kokubu Group Corp building, The company wholesells food and more.

I have no idea as to the date of the street signs but note they say Edo and not Nihon.

This curious looking places is the Nihonbashi Diamond Building, of Mitsubishi Logistics Co., Ltd . It is an Edobashi warehouse building that was built in 1930. Originally it was six floors with a tower suggesting the appearance of a ship. They added the center high rise of 18 floors in 2014.

Back part of the building with windows that look like doors.

That's it for this excursion. While Nihonbashi by Tokyo Station isn't the most interesting area visually, there is one more thing there that is. That is the subject of my next post.

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